Viacom has acquired Sparkler, an early learning technology platform, in a move that further expands the educational value of Nickelodeon’s Noggin.
Its co-founder Kristen Kane will step in as the new leader for the direct-to-consumer preschool subscription service. Serving as Noggin’s executive vice-president, Kane will oversee the integration of Sparkler and drive Noggin’s strategy and next phase of development as an educational digital platform. She will be based in New York and report to Nickelodeon President Brian Robbins.
Noggin is Nickelodeon’s ad-free, video subscription service with educational content currently featuring over 1,500 iconic, full-length library episodes, short-form videos, Spanish-language videos, and music videos featuring preschoolers’ favorite characters and more.
Sparkler measures child development and delivers personalized content and coaching to parents to improve child outcomes. Sparkler’s technology will be slowly integrated into Noggin’s platform, enabling parents to guide and support their kids’ continued growth and development through content and experiences on and off screen, with personalized features that track progress over time.
Said Robbins: “Pairing Sparkler’s capabilities with our curriculum-driven content will fully transform Noggin into a premier interactive learning destination for preschoolers and their families. Kristen brings extensive experience in the education and technology space, and she will help drive Noggin’s growth with an increased focus on delivering even greater value to our direct-to-consumer service.”
Subject to the terms of the transaction, Sparkler’s work with schools, healthcare providers, and social services providers will continue through a new non-profit organization called Sparkler Learning, and Viacom will support its mission of helping families give their children a strong start in life through partnerships with educators, doctors, and others serving young families.
Previously, Kane was the founding COO of Amplify, an education technology company dedicated to collaborating with educators to create learning experiences for students K-12. Prior to that, she was COO of the New York City Department of Education in the Bloomberg administration, responsible for the implementation of reforms and oversight of daily operations. Kane also served at the Federal Communications Commission, where she led the development of strategies for applying broadband technologies in the education, healthcare, and energy sectors.
Noggin subscriptions have grown by triple digits year over year from 2017 to 2018, and the service is currently available for iPad, iPhone, Apple TV, Android, Fire tablet and Roku devices, as well as on Amazon’s Prime Video Channels and The Roku Channel. With more than 30 series to date, including current titles like PAW Patrol, Blaze and the Monster Machines, Peppa Pig, and Bubble Guppies, Noggin’s lineup also features classic favorites such as Dora the Explorer, Blue’s Clues, Team Umizoomi and Yo Gabba Gabba!